Josh Wink On 25 Years Of Ovum Recordings
Josh Wink.

Josh Wink. Courtesy of Stephen Bondio.

Stephen Bondio

Today, world-renowned acid house producer Josh Wink released remixes of his acclaimed ‘Sixth Sense’ track on his label, Ovum Recordings, to celebrate the imprint’s 25th anniversary. The remixes of the 1998 track are by New York house legend Louie Vega and Be As One label head Shlomi Aber. Each artist offered different interpretations of the track, and there are a total of six remixes. Wink took the time to share with Forbes his thoughts on the remixes, how he has stayed successful for 25 years and more. 

Lisa Kocay: You’re currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of your record label, Ovum Recordings. Can you tell us a little bit about the history and how the label came about?

Josh Wink: “The label started in 1994 when I felt the need to release my own music on my own imprint: a label founded and run by an artist for artists. I was happy and fortunate to be releasing music since 1990 on revered and prestigious underground record labels, and felt it was a logical progression for me to start a personal label and release music with my vision.” 

Kocay: It’s pretty impressive that the label is celebrating its 25 year anniversary. How have you managed to stay successful for so many years? 

Wink: “It’s crazy to think about time in terms of having a record label for so long. I mean, it’s kind of being a father of a 25 year old. Wow. It’s a hard test to keep a label in existence so long. We’re fortunate to still be a source of pertinent music when everything has changed so much. We started in the ‘heyday’ of physical record sales and now it’s the days of metadata, digital sales, piracy and streaming platforms. But we keep up the labor of love and continue to forge on.  I imagine it’s the fact that we (Matt Brookman, Ovum’s general manager) sign music that we feel will stand the test of time, listening to demos from our hearts and how the music makes us feel rather than signing tracks we know are trendy and disposable but will sell. Integrity is a word that often comes to mind. And looking back at 25 years, I ask myself, ‘what is successful?’ and I answer, ‘being relevant, being here, now at this time and doing what we love’ is pure success in itself.” 

Kocay: You have continued releasing music consistently, once again taking over Ibiza with last year’s ‘Selecta,’ which was played out by a number of tastemakers such as Peggy Gou. How does it feel when new artists connect to your music?

Wink: “It’s an amazing feeling to have my music appreciated by colleagues, contemporaries, tastemakers, fans and consumers. I love it. There’s still no better feeling than hearing and seeing popular DJs rock my music at festivals with 20,000 people going hog wild to my compositions or seeing an Instagram story of a local DJ in some city around the globe playing my tunes at a small club or house party. Or knowing people are listening to my music on their headphones in a park, subway, home or airplane getting lost in the sounds I provide.  As stated, I love it.” 

Kocay: You released a Louie Vega remix of your ‘Sixth Sense’ track today. How does Louie’s version differ from yours?

Wink: “Remixes are cool as I can get an artist, whom I respect, to create their own vision and interpretation of my original composition. I love sending the parts of the original, waiting and anticipating the final outcome. It’s such an amazing feeling. I highly respect Louie and am a fan of his older important music and his newer contemporary music. He completed a signature Louie Vega New York City old school, yet very now interpretation. Three versions, all which rock. If your a fan of Louie, you’ll love his versions. He mainly took the original vocals by a local friend, internationally admired Philadelphia poet Ursula Rucker and set fire to this new creation. Both house and techno DJs are appreciating and supporting the promo that was sent out to the tastemakers.” 

Kocay: You have some great artists remixing your classic tracks: Eats Everything, Shlomi Aber and Agent Orange. What’s your process for deciding who will mix which track?

Wink: “I usually reach out to artists I respect and admire for remixes. This to me is the most relevant aspect of choosing a remixer. However, sometimes an artist or DJ simply does their own remix, like a bootleg version, and sends it to me. I get surprised and at a future date we may end up releasing it. Like Eats Everything’s version of my Size 9 moniker’s ‘I am Ready’ or Agent Orange’s rendition of ‘Don’t Laugh’ from my Winx alter ego. Or there’s Shlomi Aber, an artist who’s been released on Ovum Recordings for years (many singles and his first LP). He was a huge fan of the original Sixth Sense track. He reached out to me saying how much he still plays the 1998 version. So, I suggested in 2016 that I could send him the parts to do his own version, which is now being released three years later. No rules, whatever, happens, happens. I dig this spontaneity of the indie world.”

Kocay: How have you seen the industry change over the course of your career?

Wink: “Mostly the Internet and digital world has changed the music industry the most, for good and bad. But technology has changed the music industry the most. But then again, I feel that technology has changed every industry since its development and introduction in our lives.”

Kocay: Have you had to make any changes yourself to conform to the industry? 

Wink: “Well, I’m not a fan of how the naive rules and guidelines set by the major record label and lawyers in the early inception of the Internet and Digital Rights Management (DRM) [because of] how it set standards on artist’s music without knowing the beast the Internet would become for music and commerce. I think most of the conformity that artists and record labels confront now are the no-negotiation, ‘it is what is’ mentality. If you want your music out there on certain platforms for sales or streaming, you have little room for brokering. The guidelines were set. And that’s that. Only way to get around this as an independent is to either succumb to the set standards or do it yourself on your own terms and platform.”

Kocay: As this is a milestone year for the label, what else do you have in the pipeline?

Wink: “We have events around the world set up over the year  tying in the celebration with relevant parties. Ovum artist past and present, along with fans of the label, playing these events world-wide. It’s been fun so far. We have opened our vast Ovum Recordings vaulted catalog and are re-releasing the Josh Wink ‘Sixth Sense’ 1998 track in celebration of the milestone. And we may do another surprise before the years end. So, be sure to follow me and the label to be up to date.”

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Today, world-renowned acid house producer Josh Wink released remixes of his acclaimed ‘Sixth Sense’ track on his label, Ovum Recordings, to celebrate the imprint’s 25th anniversary. The remixes of the 1998 track are by New York house legend Louie Vega and Be As One label head Shlomi Aber. Each artist offered different interpretations of the track, and there are a total of six remixes. Wink took the time to share with Forbes his thoughts on the remixes, how he has stayed successful for 25 years and more. 

Lisa Kocay: You’re currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of your record label, Ovum Recordings. Can you tell us a little bit about the history and how the label came about?

Josh Wink: “The label started in 1994 when I felt the need to release my own music on my own imprint: a label founded and run by an artist for artists. I was happy and fortunate to be releasing music since 1990 on revered and prestigious underground record labels, and felt it was a logical progression for me to start a personal label and release music with my vision.” 

Kocay: It’s pretty impressive that the label is celebrating its 25 year anniversary. How have you managed to stay successful for so many years? 

Wink: “It’s crazy to think about time in terms of having a record label for so long. I mean, it’s kind of being a father of a 25 year old. Wow. It’s a hard test to keep a label in existence so long. We’re fortunate to still be a source of pertinent music when everything has changed so much. We started in the ‘heyday’ of physical record sales and now it’s the days of metadata, digital sales, piracy and streaming platforms. But we keep up the labor of love and continue to forge on.  I imagine it’s the fact that we (Matt Brookman, Ovum’s general manager) sign music that we feel will stand the test of time, listening to demos from our hearts and how the music makes us feel rather than signing tracks we know are trendy and disposable but will sell. Integrity is a word that often comes to mind. And looking back at 25 years, I ask myself, ‘what is successful?’ and I answer, ‘being relevant, being here, now at this time and doing what we love’ is pure success in itself.” 

Kocay: You have continued releasing music consistently, once again taking over Ibiza with last year’s ‘Selecta,’ which was played out by a number of tastemakers such as Peggy Gou. How does it feel when new artists connect to your music?

Wink: “It’s an amazing feeling to have my music appreciated by colleagues, contemporaries, tastemakers, fans and consumers. I love it. There’s still no better feeling than hearing and seeing popular DJs rock my music at festivals with 20,000 people going hog wild to my compositions or seeing an Instagram story of a local DJ in some city around the globe playing my tunes at a small club or house party. Or knowing people are listening to my music on their headphones in a park, subway, home or airplane getting lost in the sounds I provide.  As stated, I love it.” 

Kocay: You released a Louie Vega remix of your ‘Sixth Sense’ track today. How does Louie’s version differ from yours?

Wink: “Remixes are cool as I can get an artist, whom I respect, to create their own vision and interpretation of my original composition. I love sending the parts of the original, waiting and anticipating the final outcome. It’s such an amazing feeling. I highly respect Louie and am a fan of his older important music and his newer contemporary music. He completed a signature Louie Vega New York City old school, yet very now interpretation. Three versions, all which rock. If your a fan of Louie, you’ll love his versions. He mainly took the original vocals by a local friend, internationally admired Philadelphia poet Ursula Rucker and set fire to this new creation. Both house and techno DJs are appreciating and supporting the promo that was sent out to the tastemakers.” 

Kocay: You have some great artists remixing your classic tracks: Eats Everything, Shlomi Aber and Agent Orange. What’s your process for deciding who will mix which track?

Wink: “I usually reach out to artists I respect and admire for remixes. This to me is the most relevant aspect of choosing a remixer. However, sometimes an artist or DJ simply does their own remix, like a bootleg version, and sends it to me. I get surprised and at a future date we may end up releasing it. Like Eats Everything’s version of my Size 9 moniker’s ‘I am Ready’ or Agent Orange’s rendition of ‘Don’t Laugh’ from my Winx alter ego. Or there’s Shlomi Aber, an artist who’s been released on Ovum Recordings for years (many singles and his first LP). He was a huge fan of the original Sixth Sense track. He reached out to me saying how much he still plays the 1998 version. So, I suggested in 2016 that I could send him the parts to do his own version, which is now being released three years later. No rules, whatever, happens, happens. I dig this spontaneity of the indie world.”

Kocay: How have you seen the industry change over the course of your career?

Wink: “Mostly the Internet and digital world has changed the music industry the most, for good and bad. But technology has changed the music industry the most. But then again, I feel that technology has changed every industry since its development and introduction in our lives.”

Kocay: Have you had to make any changes yourself to conform to the industry? 

Wink: “Well, I’m not a fan of how the naive rules and guidelines set by the major record label and lawyers in the early inception of the Internet and Digital Rights Management (DRM) [because of] how it set standards on artist’s music without knowing the beast the Internet would become for music and commerce. I think most of the conformity that artists and record labels confront now are the no-negotiation, ‘it is what is’ mentality. If you want your music out there on certain platforms for sales or streaming, you have little room for brokering. The guidelines were set. And that’s that. Only way to get around this as an independent is to either succumb to the set standards or do it yourself on your own terms and platform.”

Kocay: As this is a milestone year for the label, what else do you have in the pipeline?

Wink: “We have events around the world set up over the year  tying in the celebration with relevant parties. Ovum artist past and present, along with fans of the label, playing these events world-wide. It’s been fun so far. We have opened our vast Ovum Recordings vaulted catalog and are re-releasing the Josh Wink ‘Sixth Sense’ 1998 track in celebration of the milestone. And we may do another surprise before the years end. So, be sure to follow me and the label to be up to date.”

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